No. 3 Congressman Perez: Congressmen ‘don’t work for us’

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Lauren Ellenbecker / The Colombian

The way congressional leaders stand up for the working class isn’t good enough, and their efforts are getting closer to paying lip service, according to the new Democratic congressional nominee for Southwest Washington.

Marie Perez of Skamania said members of Congress love to talk about how small businesses are the backbone of the country’s economy, but they’re not taking the right steps — if any — to help them. . It should come as no surprise that local businesses are closing and being replaced by larger corporations.

“The reality is this: (the reps) don’t work for us,” Perez said.

The contestant and her husband, who together own an auto repair shop, face the dilemma of weighing the importance of some bills against others. Amid the whirlwind of bills for necessary groceries, electricity and gas, the couple pays $1,200 a month for health insurance and $500 to cover their infant son, leaving them without enough money to pay for child care.

That’s why their son joins them at work, of course equipped with the appropriate personal protective equipment.

Although Perez has never held office, she is involved in politics at the national and local level. She is a member of the Washington State Democratic Party Executive Committee and works in the Underwood Soil and Water Conservation District.

While serving on the state Democratic Party committee, Perez introduced a resolution to address carbon accounting as it relates to mandatory meetings typically held in Washington, D.C., or the amount of carbon dioxide that members of the organization emitted during their travels.

She said the sustainability-focused motion served as a vehicle to fight for a more representative body, as meetings were something delegates had to pay out of pocket to attend, regardless of where they were. The resolution, which is currently being tested, will help those who cannot afford travel expenses.

Perez said his efforts to advocate for inclusivity and address interdependent social identities through policies reflect the core value of a democracy.

“I feel like if you’re able to make things better, you have an obligation to try,” she said.

Working class needs, overdue changes

Perez, who holds a degree in economics, said growing and redeveloping market power should be at the forefront of the national interest, including investing in energy independence.

Also, focusing on economic growth and stability from a working-class perspective is huge for the region’s overall prosperity, Perez said. She pointed to the broken aspects of the US system in the way it treats lower and middle class families while it benefits big business through tax breaks. Corporate intervention in politics should be ruled out altogether, she said.

The situation is enough to bring people to the streets with pitchforks, the congressional candidate said.

After all, people shouldn’t be expected to have abundant wealth or an Ivy League education to live a decent life, she added. It’s a topic that crosses the boundaries of urban and rural communities, and Perez said she’s focused on bridging the rift between those factions if she succeeds in the race to unseat Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground. .

Achieving that goal starts with treating the working class right, including providing accessible and sustainable health care and childcare options, she said. Navigating dealings with the federal government should also be made easier, especially when it comes to the complexity of paying taxes, she said.

America’s social and physical infrastructure needs to be fully improved, Perez said, and things get worse faster before they get better. Strengthening the region’s natural energy industries, as well as addressing the lack of affordable housing and aging roads, are long overdue.

“We have an aging system that is going to start killing people,” Perez continued. “We can do better.

Giving greater societal value to vocational education should also be a priority for policy makers. There’s a narrative that says people in retail jobs aren’t smart, she said, and that can lead to low self-esteem in people in those positions. Instead, Perez said getting into vocational programs at a young age can empower children to pursue those careers that are essential to well-functioning communities.

“I’m part of the generation that earns less than my parents. We have to turn things around,” she said.

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